There’s a certain degree of calmness that will enfold you whenever you hear the songs of Jose Mari Chan. He may be known by many today as the man crooning holiday tunes from speakers and radios, but his status as an iconic OPM act with several classics immortalizing the grandeur of love and romance is yet another legacy that will resonate for a long time.
One of the few local artists with a Diamond Record award, the 73-year-old singer-songwriter is considered an important pillar of the music industry. And when he made his Wish Bus debut on November 26 — courtesy of Wish 107.5’s partnership with Shopee, a leading online shopping platform — it sounded almost surreal when he performed a setlist of his most enduring hits.
The Shopee Wish Bus Tour brought the musical vehicle, with Jose Mari Chan on board, to three different establishments across Metro Manila.
Apart from providing a warm, nostalgic atmosphere with his performances, he also shared interesting stories behind his self-penned OPM songs.
A Lifetime Vow of Love
Before singing his 1985 opus “A Love to Last a Lifetime,” Chan revealed that the composition was actually dedicated to his wife as a wedding anniversary gift.
“I wrote this when my wife and I was about to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary. And I wrote this while on the plane. We were living in New York at that time and the company [my family runs] was sending me to London. I really didn’t want to leave because it was too close to our anniversary,” he recounted.
Left with no choice but to go on his scheduled business trip, he found a way to celebrate the occasion.
“Before the plane took off from the airport, I took out a piece of paper and I began to write down everything that I wanted to tell to my wife. By the time the plane landed in London, I had completed a song. I rushed to check into the hotel and I went into my room and I called up [my wife] Mary Ann and sang the song a cappella,” he added.
Remade for Sharing
“Please Be Careful With My Heart” was a hit duet for Chan and then-rising songstress Regine Velasquez. But before it became as such, it was first a single recorded by Filipina singer Jam Morales.
“I wrote this song — first time — was in 1983, and it was recorded by Jam Morales. Then six years later, when I was coming up with a new album called ‘Constant Change.’ I wanted to turn this song into a duet and so I composed the other half.”
While the original version only presented the perspective of someone experiencing first love, the duet revival widened the song’s storyline with the inclusion of the other party’s point of view.
“You are my first (and you are my last) romance/ And I’m willing to take a chance (I’ve learned from the past)/ That till life is through, I’ll still be loving you/ I will be true to you (I will be true)/Just a promise from you will do (only to you)/ From the very start (from the very start)/ Please be careful with my heart (I’ll be careful with your heart,” the chorus of the track — which has become an anthem to a generation of lovers — says.
OPM icon Jose Mari Chan performs his biggest hits aboard the Wish Bus.
On Being Afraid to Speak Out
One of the stand-out tracks spawned by Chan’s 1975 album “Here & Now” is “Afraid For Love To Fade.”
According to the OPM legend, he penned the song to “express the feelings of an ordinary guy who is afraid to speak out, who is afraid to tell the girl how much he loves her — afraid that it may fall apart.”
The timeless track has been covered by other Filipino artists like Lea Salonga and Ian Veneracion.
While Chan admitted that the song is about the struggle of expressing one’s feelings, he also offered an all-important piece of advice for the listeners: “It may be hard to say your feelings at first, but once you found your true love, never let her go.”
His debut stint on the program Roadshow was one of the highlights of the Shopee Wish Bus Tour. Aboard the musical vehicle, he performed the songs during the tour stops at the Starmall EDSA-Shaw, Ayala Malls Circuit, and Vista Mall Taguig.